Screaming Jets

March 10, 2018 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC |

Songs in Our Heart # 90 Screaming Jets (Johnny Warman) (written by Johnny Warman; released June 1981) [A one-hit wonder par excellence, Warman’s fable of a nuclear dawn still resonates (“there’s a ring around the sun…and it looks if we’re going back to where it all begun…”) and the sound effects are sensational, including some inspired back-wailing by Peter Gabriel.  A great one-off.] x

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Watership Down by Richard Adams

Nuthanger Farm. Visited by the rabbits on their odyssey.

“Bright eyes, burning like fire…” O sorry, where were we?  I was lost in contemplation of the ugly film animation of this story – I don’t think that the term “bright eyes” appears at all in the classic children’s book. And these rabbits wouldn’t like the fire simile at all. The rabbits of Sandleford Warren have got to get out of there.  Led by intrepid Hazel and little Fiver (a seer, no less) a small but feisty party sets off for a new home which is way way too far off, across too many hazards.  On the way we learn that pet rabbits become lazy and dull, that to…

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My Brilliant Friend (by Elena Ferrante)

February 13, 2018 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WRITING & LITERATURE |

Children of Naples

In a ragged post-war Neapolitan suburb, families send their children to school under sufferance. But two young pupils –  pointlessly enough, girls – exhibit well above-average intellectual ability.  But which one of the pair is the brilliant friend?  Studious, pragmatic Elena, or the mercurial, nihilistic Lila? The girls’ time and place is particularly dangerous.  “Our world was like that, full of words that killed: croup, tetanus, typhus, gas, war, lathe, rubble, work, bombardment, bomb, tuberculosis, infection.  With these words and those years I bring back the many fears that accompanied me all my life.” But then again, it is an all-too familiar child’s world of not quite-real, misunderstood…

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Gold Dust Woman : The Biography of Stevie Nicks

(by Stephen Davis) That “The” in the title is pretty rich. This is not a definitive biography of Stevie Nicks. This is a pedestrian grab for cash. Davis didn’t interview Nicks – he’s taken his material from published interviews, the music, quotes, interviews with friends and colleagues. He may have spoken to Nicks when working with Mick Fleetwood on the latter’s 1990 memoirs, Fleetwood: My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac (which Davis says was “an international best seller (and the foundation text for almost every book written since about this band).”  Gold Dust Woman isn’t a bad book, it’s just that…

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Gob’s Grief (by Chris Adrian)

Chris Adrian’s qualifications in literature, medicine and divinity and he doesn’t avoid the big issues.  His first novel, Gob’s* Grief is not as fabulous as his second, the magnificent, The Children’s Hospital, but it is still gob-stopping.  TVC were put off of the book by its apparent subject – the American Civil War. But, although the war is a bloody, reeking presence in the book, the novel is about much more than that. Adrian’s obsessions – lost brothers, angels, the mind-body fusion are all stirred together in an unholy alchemy in this story of the terrible grief of the bereaved, the attempt to fuse nature and mechanics, mortality and…

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